CSA Newsletter: Week 16

IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK

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Red Napa Cabbage (Large Shares & a handful of Small Shares) // For maximum storage, remove any wilted or browning outside leaves, place in a plastic bag and store in the fridge.

Bok Choy (Most Small Shares) // Store unwashed in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Use within a couple days for best texture. Greens will wilt relatively quickly. Stems will retain firmness a while longer.

Salanova Lettuce // Store loosely in a plastic bag (ideally) or in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Keep unused leaves on the head. Use within a week, but likely will store up to two weeks.

Plum Tomatoes (Large Shares Only) // Store at room temperature for up to a week. Do not refrigerate. Use heirlooms much more quickly, immediately if you can.

Sweet Peppers // Refrigerate peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer. Moisture makes them spoil faster so don’t store in a plastic bag..

Beans // Refrigerate in a plastic bag and use as soon as possible. They are quite perishable.

Brussels Sprouts // Take out of plastic bag and store in a bowl or open container in the fridge. Do not trim or discard outer leaves before storage. Brussels sprouts should last up to a month this way. The outer leaves might get a little shriveled but you typically remove them anyway.

Watermelon Radish // Store loose in the crisper drawer of your fridge. They will easily store for a month, after that they will begin to get a bit softer but will remain usable for 2-3 months

Butternut Squash // Store winter squash in a cool, dry place and try to use within a week or two. Do not store in the fridge! This will cause it to spoil much more quickly.

Leeks // Store in the fridge and try to use within a week. Store in a plastic bag for best storage.

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What a beautiful week we have had out at Raleigh’s Hillside Farm. Despite the heavy rains and muddy fields, we celebrated the fall solstice in a pretty exceptional way this year: we hosted two joyful soul-nourishing community events out at our farm this past weekend.

On Saturday, we began our Women’s Wellness series. It’s something I dreamed up after visiting a beautiful farm out in Nehalem, Oregon that had turned it’s old farm house into a retreat center. Something about our experience at that beautiful space had me dreaming up ways to incorporate wellness and workshops and retreats onto our farm. Last year was the first Women’s Wellness Retreat. It was amazing but ultimately a little too long of a day for folks. Without actual accommodations on site, I realized it’s a lot to ask of folks to spend 8-9 hours on our farm and then drive the 60-90 minutes back home.

This year, we changed the retreat into a Wellness series with three similarly themed but ultimately much shorter events held every other Saturday through the fall. Saturday was our first workshop. It was a dreary rainy day, but we built a small sanctuary inside the greenhouse. We stacked seedling trays and butternut squash crates sky high, moved pallets around, and created just enough room for seven women to do yoga in a circle under gentle falling rain. After the yoga class, our former farm employee and dear friend Kristen did a 90-minute class on nourishment and intuitive eating. It was a beautiful kick off to this series and we’re thrilled to have Erin Schneider out October 5th to talk about medicinal herbs and making digestive bitters from scratch as well as Stephanie Mullis out on October 19th to introduce folks to medicinal herbs and walk folks through the fields to forage for some of their own.

On Sunday, we hosted another event—a much larger event that I can only describe as a dream come true. This event, called Heritage on the Hillside, was a 100-guest fundraising dinner in honor of REAP Food Group. The food was prepared by chef Jon Rosnow and his incredible team at Heritage Tavern (who incorporated every dang vegetable and herb we had in season at this specific moment in time as well as all our partners’ products—Landmark cheese, Meadowlark grains and polenta, Atoms to Apples apples). The beer was provided by Working Draft Brewery. All the logistics were handled by thoughtful and intentional REAP staff.

As you can maybe imagine with a team like that, it was a perfect event in pretty much every way. There was rain and wind and mud and flies, but no one even seemed to notice. The beer was flowing, the charcuterie and shared plates were piled high, the conversations were boisterous, and the warmth of a community supporting and celebrating local food kept us all in amazing spirits. When Kyle and I headed off on a farm tour before dinner, half the guests strapped on their rain boots, grabbed their umbrellas and joined us in the muddy fields to hear about cover crop, hemp, and the growth of our business over these past seven years. It was truly a dream of an event and an amazing way to begin to wrap up this season that has felt, in so many ways, effortless.

We’ll be hosting three more events this fall: our CSA harvest party and end of season celebration this Saturday from 11-3 p.m. and two more Women’s Wellness events. Please do try and find some time to join us out here. We absolutely love sharing our farm with you!

-L&K

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VEGGIE ID: Leeks

Leeks are the super tall vegetables in your box this week that look almost like a giant green onion. These are one of my all time favorite veggies and I hope you learn to love them too!

They are in the allium (onion, garlic, shallots, etc) family so have that delicious allium flavor. They can be used any place where you would use an onion but I LOVE them in potato leek soup! To use them, you want to cut a tiny bit of the bottom off (the fringy part that was in the ground) as well as the leaves (use the parts that are white and pale green, skip the parts that are dark green- though they can be used for soup stock) and you can then cut them into rings or slice the leek in half and slice it much as you would an onion.

For more info on leeks and how to cut them, head over here! For our video on how to cut them, check out the video on our YouTube channel!

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VEGGIE ID: WATERMELON RADISH ↑

Like so many vegetables, watermelon radishes were a thing I’d barely ever tasted before I started farming. They certainly weren’t something I would choose myself on a trip to the grocery store. But after three years of growing them, I have fall completely in love.

They do not in fact taste like a watermelon; instead their name comes from their appearance (green on the outside, pink on the inside). They are a hybrid of a daikon so they have that sweeter, less spicy, more robust flavor similar to a daikon.

Cooking them is quite simple. You do not have to peel them before use and they taste best raw and thinly sliced. Instead of throwing the slices on a salad as an afterthought, I prefer to use watermelon radish as the main ingredient.

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VEGGIE ID: BOK CHOY ↑

Be not afraid of that leafy green vegetable with white almost celery-looking stalks in your box this week. Bok Choy is one of the vegetables I had never heard of before we began farming that I have grown to have a deep love for. It is a member of the brassica family (I'll mention the brassica family a lot; it includes lots of popular veggies like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts as well as some odd ducks like kohlrabi, bok choy and rutabaga).

It sometimes also referred to a pac choi or Chinese cabbage. This green is mild and sweet with an almost silky texture. A lot of dark leafy greens can be bitter or harsh, but bok choy is the complete opposite. The leaves are light and tender. The stalk is crunchy and crisp.

So how do I use it?

The first step is getting it clean. We washed the field dirt off the bok choy, but dirt still likes to hide between the layers. I fill my sink with cold water, rip off as many leaves as I plan to use and then soak them for 5-10 minutes. I rub my fingers over any dirty parts of the stem after they soak and then swish them through the water before use.

Then all that's left to do is cut it up. This will vary a little bit based on what recipe you are using, but I like to cut the stems from the leaves. I usually roughly chop the leaves and slice the stems.

What is the best way to prepare bok choy?

Because the leafy greens are so tender and the stalks so crispy, I love to eat bok choy raw in salads. There is an amazing salad recipe below that calls for bok choy as well as one that turns bok choy and radishes into a simple slaw. My friend Sarah loves to grill bok choy because it stands up well to the heat. Lots of folks stir fry it or add it to soups. You can also make a quick ferment or kimchi out of it. I've also simmered it in coconut milk (ala creamed spinach, but vegan and so much better!) and that was one of my favorite simple preparation. And as always, never forget that you can roast literally anything. The sky is the limit with this leafy green so be not afraid. You too will learn to love it!

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VEGGIE ID: NAPA CABBAGE ↑

Napa cabbage is not so different than regular cabbage. It's a member of the brassica family (along with broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, Brussels sprouts and so many of our favorite veggies). It comes in a head, loves cool weather and stores exceptionally well. What makes it different is the oblong shape and much more tender leaves. The taste is a little sweeter and milder than regular cabbage while the texture is a bit softer. It cooks down much easier than regular cabbage, but I think where it really shines is in its raw form.

This particular Napa cabbage is a red variety which doesn't change the flavor much but does make it more striking and beautiful. There is one recipe suggestion below (and there will be even more next week), but check out this link at Food52 for more options!

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IN YOUR BOX NEXT WEEK

You can expect 9-10 of these items in your box next week

Rutabaga

Celeriac

Watermelon Radish

Napa Cabbage or Cabbage

Beans

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Sweet Peppers

Hot Peppers

Fennel

Leeks

Red Onion

Parsley or Mint

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KATHY'S RECIPE CORNER

Early on, Lauren's mom instilled in her a great love of cooking. She's always had a garden and knows what to do with abundant produce better than anyone. We hope you enjoy her classic Wisconsin preparations of summer abundance. 

“Smothered Sauce” for pork chops or chicken breasts

3 tablespoons butter

1 large green pepper or Italian fryer, cut into strips

1 large red or yellow bell pepper or Italian fryer, cut into strips

1 large leek, thin sliced

3 tablespoon flour

1 ½ cups chicken broth or stock

2 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Saute peppers and leek in butter until soft, about 10 minutes.

  2. Sprinkle flour over sautéed vegetables, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in chicken broth and stir until thickened. Stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste. 

  3. Meanwhile grill, broil or fry your pork chops or chicken breasts. Season lightly, serve by ladling sauce over each. 

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box inspiration:

Every week I'll share the links to some of my favorite recipes for the produce in your box from my own blog as well as my favorite bloggers and chefs. I am a master recipe substituter so be sure to read my notes before clicking through to see what vegetables I am swapping for others and how I adapt favorite recipes time and time again with whatever is in season! Though some of the recipes I share may look complicated, I also love sharing tips for streamlining or suggesting other preparation suggestions in the notes of the recipes.

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

photo by: Half Baked Harvest

Better Than Takeout Szechuan Noodles with Sesame Chili Oil // Uses Bok Choy, skip garlic, red onion and scallions (unless you happen to have some) sub Leeks for any and all of these other alliums, maybe add some Sweet Peppers // I am so excited to have greens again and you can probably tell because I shared FOUR recipes that you can use your bok choy in. I’m such a sucker for greens— and noodles.

Gluten-Free (with the right noodles)

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Spicy Kimchi Slaw // Napa Cabbage, sub Watermelon Radish for Daikon, sub Leek or scallions, shred your own Carrots if you still have them // Napa cabbage and watermelon radish are a match made in heaven, but I didn’t want to give you a kimchi recipe because I know most folks won’t go home and make a vat of kimchi (but if you do happen to want to, check out this great recipe). This recipe calls for prepared kimchi mixed with Napa, watermelon radish and carrots for a light, bright salad that would taste great paired with some ribs or fried chicken. The only veggie it calls for that we didn’t give you is scallions, and I recommend buying some because scallions are an essential part of kimchi.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

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Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Peanuts & Apples // Uses Brussels Sprouts // We’ve finally made it to brussels sprouts season!!! And there is so much to get excited about with these tasty treats. You can always roast them for the world’s simplest, tastiest side dish, but I love to go a bit further, cut them small and eat them raw in a salad— especially when I can pair them with fresh fall apples.

Vegetarian, Vegan (without fish sauce), Gluten-Free

photo by; Vegetarian Times

photo by; Vegetarian Times

Green Bean Salad with Feta & Walnuts // Uses Green Beans, Lettuce, sub Leek for red onion // This salad feels more summery than fall, but if the fields are going to keep producing summer delights like green beans, then it’s salad we’ll be eating. Blanched beans, crunchy lettuce, creamy feta, nutty walnuts and the bite of raw onion all in one lovely bright bowl of veggies. Toss in some cherry tomatoes if you still have them laying around. It’s a perfect simple dinner.

Vegetarian, Vegan (if you leave off the feta), Gluten Free

photo by: Bon Appetit

photo by: Bon Appetit

Radishes with Burrata // Watermelon Radishes // It isn’t always easy to find burrata, but if you can, make this recipe immediately. Watermelon radishes are still a little spicy like a regular radish but more sweet and flavorful. They don’t take much to make them tasty, but tossing them with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and throwing them on a bed of creamy cheese is one really great way to go about it.

Vegetarian, Gluten Free

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Crispy Korean Rice Bowl // Uses Bok Choy, make your Quick Kimchi out of the Watermelon Radish and Leeks // This recipe is top of the list for a reshoot. It is one of my absolute favorite blog recipes because of it’s versatility, but that picture is no good at all. Today, don’t eat with your eyes, just trust me that this bowl is incredible! The bulk of the meal is the coconut milk braised bok choy and sweet sticky mushrooms served over rice, but a ton of quick homemade kimchi over the top is what really makes it exceptional.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

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BBQ Butternut Squash & Pulled Pork Pizza // Uses Butternut Squash, Colored Pepper, Poblano or Green Pepper, sub Leek for onion, skip the Jalapeno if you don’t have one available // A few years back, we hosted a pizza night on the farm where I fed CSA members pizza until they felt nauseous. I made six different styles of pizza and loaded everyone up on so many slices. It was such a fun event and I still love each and every one of the pizzas I invented that night, but this one takes the cake. It’s got a bit of everything: sweet, salty, rich, fiery, filling, packed full of veggies. What else could one want?

photo by; Alexandra Cooks

photo by; Alexandra Cooks

Watermelon Radish, Orange & Goat Cheese Salad // Uses Watermelon Radish, sub Leeks for shallot and/or chives // If this salad doens’t make you fall in love with the lovely watermelon radish, nothing will! The creamy cheese, the crunchy walnuts, the sweet oranges and the tender crisp radishes. It’s a match made in heaven.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

Napa Cabbage Noodle Salad // Uses Napa Cabbage, Sweet Pepper, sub a thinly sliced Leek for garlic and scallions, sub Watermelon Radish for daikon (or leave it out), add any herbs you have on hand // This recipe is a dream. Healthy, simple, exotically flavored in ways you might think you’d only get at a restaurant, and packed full of CSA veggies. I made this recipe in June for the first time and have been waiting desperately for our fall Napa cabbage every since.

Gluten-Free with the right noodles

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Hasselback Butternut Squash with Hot & Spicy Brown Butter Sauce // Uses Butternut Squash // Winter squash, brown butter, maple syrup, red pepper flakes. Fall doesn’t get much tastier than this.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

photo by: Dining In Cookbook

photo by: Dining In Cookbook

Blistered Green Beans with Creamy Tahini & Fresh Hot Sauce // Green Beans, leftover Jalapeno or other hot pepper // This is one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks. The heat, the creamy sauce, the char on the beans. It’s perfection. I did blanch my beans for 5 minutes first to ensure they got properly blistered while still being cooked through.

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

Iceberg Wedges with Grilled Bacon & Croutons // Uses Lettuce // These little salanova lettuces are so cute and delicate that I think they make a lovely little wedge with a bit more nutrient content than a traditional iceberg. Top them with this yummy combo of grilled bacon and croutons or whatever else you feel like!

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Slow Cooker Beef & Bok Choy Fried Rice // Uses Bok Choy, sub Leeks for garlic, add Watermelon Radishes cut into matchsticks at the end instead of scallions // Fried rice. The perfect answer to what’s for dinner.

Gluten-Free

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Jammy Pepper Pasta Salad // Uses Sweet Peppers, Leeks

In a Dutch oven, heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium high heat until it glistens. Add 4 cups of diced sweet peppers (the fryers and baby bells will all work great!) along with 5 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes until the peppers are softened and perhaps just a bit brown in spots. Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and reduce heat to medium low. Partially cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes throughout cooking.
While those cook down, prepare pickled leeks by combining leek with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Toss to combine and let sit until ready to use.

Once peppers are cooked, remove from heat and add in 8 ounces cooked pasta (I love cavatappi here), 8 ounces cubed fresh mozzarella, and pickled leeks. Serve at room temperature or cold.